School Yard Mediation

School yard


When children are in conflict with each other, they often have a lot of different views on each other, which can be expressed verbally (either directly to the involved or behind each others back) It may be views on the other as: the other one is stupid, annoying, a loser, a crying weak person, etc. These views are not factual and bring rarely something constructive.

The FFA-man is a tool where pupils go through a conflict with the guidance and mediation of an adult.

The FFA-man is developed in order to show pupils what may really be take place in any given conflict, in an appropriate manner.

When working with the FFA-man, the starting point is a given conflict. Often there will be a pupil who feels mistreated, which can also be the person who started the conflict. On the floor the three The FFA-man steps are placed and each pupil in conflict are now guided through the FFA-mans three elements.

The one pupil starts to stand on the head of the FFA-man and then he/she moves gradually down through the three parts: head, heart and legs.

The ffa-mans head: facts

It has happened, what you heard, what you have seen. Completely factual. The pupil is helped to formulate what he/she has experienced, and not what he/she thinks about the other.

The FFA-man’s heart: FEELINGS (and Needs)

Pupil helped now to say what the factual experience has done to him/her. What emotions does the pupil have? Is he/she angry, upset or irritated?

The FEELINGS are related to the experience of being disregarded on eight fundamental needs. They are listed below:


If the pupil feels disregarded one or more of the eight fundamental needs, the pupil can often find it difficult to put exact words. The SSP-personnel thus helps to figure out the link between the fundamental need and the feelings. E.g. the SSP-personnel can ask about why the pupil has this feeling. Is it that the pupils wants to jump rope alone, or because the pupil is afraid of getting beaten up after school?

The FFA-man’s legs: ACTION

Eventually the pupil is encouraged to ask the other(s) if he/she/they will help to talk about how they all can avoid that the incident/conflict persists. For example:
“Can we talk about how I avoid that I will be left out?”. Then the other part(s) are going through the same three steps of the FFA-man, telling how he/she/they experienced the case, the feelings and the suggestions for action for the better circumstances and prevention of further conflicts. An action could be to say sorry and to start from new. Together with the SSP-personnel they seek a code of conduct.

The FFA-man man can be used as a practical tool in classes where conflicts occur frequently and affect the social life of the class. The three step-figure can be played in the schoolyard when pupils are trained in using it. They can be guided to ask an adult to help them to go through the steps. At the same time it is also a tool to teach pupils about communications by showing them that a conflict contains several elements, and that there is often more at stake than you first think. It is a fundamental need in conflicts that there are mutual understanding in order to solve the conflict.

The FFA-man is inspired by the Best Practice of SSP Roedovre Kommune in Denmark.

Good luck!


  • Your opinion is just as good as my, even when we do not agree
  • You have the right to be heard and understood
  • I feel that I have the right to be treated properly


  • We praise each other
  • We remember to say it out loud when someone does something good
  • “Well said” / “You are good” / “What a nice sweater”


  • It is nice to be here
  • I want to participate
  • I feel the others do like me
  • I’m not afraid of what can be said about me in a group/play


  • I am to rely on / others are to be relied on 
  • I can keep secrets
  • I do not spread rumours and I do not slander
  • I feel that others will ask me about what they could be wondering about me or if there is any doubt


  • I have the opportunity to be who I am
  • “You can be the one you are”
  • We are different and that’s good


  • When I say something, the others listen
  • My opinion is also important


  • “You do not have to agree with me, but you must understand that I have a different opinion”
  • You understand me, when I say that something, which is hard for me, even if you think it’s easy for you


  • I am also part of the group
  • It’s my class/our community
  • I am not outside/Feeling excluded

Team up with 3-4 teammates and 1 coach and follow the steps below!

Step 1

In your group, discuss with your coach what the FFA-man means? And how can we use it in everyday situations?

The children in conflict must now, with your coach, follow the next steps of the workshop.

Step 2

All involved in the conflict must now answer the following questions. One at a time:

  • What are the factual happenings? What, where, when?
  • What did you hear, say, or do?

You should only focus on describing the situation in this step.

Step 3

Now talk about what the factual case did to her/him.

  • How do you feel? Are you sad/irritated/angry?

Now, discuss in your group which of the fundamental needs you think the group member feels lack of:

  • Respect
  • Recognition
  • Safety
  • Trust
  • Acceptance
  • To be heard
  • To be
  • Understood
  • Belonging

Step 4

Now discuss how everyone in the group can help next time there is a conflict.

  • What actions can help prevent conflicts?

After this, the rest of the group goes through the FFA-man telling how they experienced the conflict.

When everyone have been through the steps, the group must agree on 4 actions and solutions to solve conflicts.

Ekstra exercises:

Make up a conflict case, train the case following the FFA-man steps and show a 3 minutes play to the rest of the groups.

Discuss in your group, the feelings we can have when we experience good contact to the others.

Discuss in your group, the feelings we can have when we experience a conflict with others.